Scottish film wins Best Film at First Cut! Youth Film Festival

Published: 25 Apr 2016

Still from The Old Lie

An all-female crew of young filmmakers from West Lothian won Best Film with their debut short film, The Old Lie at the First Cut! Youth Film Festival in Ireland on Saturday 23 April, 2016.

The filmmakers aged 15-16; Bethan Dow, Charlie Houston, Dana Martin, Mari Wall, Taylor Thompson and Eilidh Anderson, were brought together by Livingston-based Firefly Arts, who offer theatre skills, film and drama activity for children and young people aged 5 to 25 years across West Lothian.

Shot in Glasgow, The Old Lie is an experimental dance film, featuring a cast of all-male dancers from Overdrive Dance Company aged 10 to 14, which explores themes of war and innocence, taking inspiration from Wilfred Owen’s classic poem, Dulce et Decorum Est.

The all-female crew were brought together by Firefly Arts’ project A Word in Your Ear, a youth arts programme offering participants the chance to explore the politics of language, narrative and expression; to build confidence, skills and aspiration, and promoting the talent of children and young people across West Lothian. The project is supported by Creative Scotland through CashBack for Creativity and actively seeks to engage participants who are vulnerable, marginalised and do not currently participate in the arts. Firefly works closely with local partners, behavioural and disability services to ensure that participants with additional support needs can participate fully and equitably.

Jen Randall of Lightshed Pictures, who helped create the film said: “I thought this might be the time to reinvent The Old Lie (referenced in Owen’s famous poem). And with a group of young men performing which was a statement in itself in the contemporary dance world, I thought it would be powerful to assemble a crew of young women to make the film, making a statement in the film world. So with the support of Firefly Arts, we set up the FGaze (female gaze) project, to try and encourage more girls to take part in filmmaking, and to challenge gender stereotypes with females behind the camera and males in front of it.”

This was the first short film for all of the young filmmakers who were involved at every stage of the production process from planning shots to post–production.

Filmmaker Bethan Dow said: “The project was inspired by the lack of women working in the film industry, in particular behind the camera. The aim was to break down stereotypes, to show that women can work behind the camera and that they can be whatever they want to be. We were also aiming to show boys that they could do anything too, dancing is seen as a mostly feminine sport but it is important to show boys that there is nothing wrong with it.”

The film has already received a host of positive reviews most notably from American musician Tom Waits who gave consent for his song Hell Broke Luce to provide the soundtrack to the film and sent a message of support to the group.

Filmmaker Eilidh Anderson said:“The audience loved The Old Lie and were pleasantly surprised at how people our age made it to such a high standard. Tom Waits himself even said he loved it and we are so proud that it's done so well! Overall audiences seem to love it which is fantastic!”

Laura Black, Arts Officer, Cashback for Creativity at Creative Scotland said: “It was an inspiration watching this fantastic film and speaking to the young women and their supporting dance partners at Overdrive Dance Company about their hard work and dedication in its production. 

“The A Word in your Ear project is continuing as part of the 2016-17 CashBack for Creativity programme and we hope this film will offer inspiration to many other participants taking part in this multi-artform and widely accessible programme CashBack for Creativity projects have enabled young people across Scotland, some of whom are from areas of multiple deprivation, to flourish and realise their creative potential.”

The First Cut! Youth Film Festival provides the opportunity for young filmmakers aged between 12 and 24 to come together in a vibrant festival atmosphere, whilst also giving them the chance to network and showcase their work.

As well as the screenings of works by young filmmakers, the Festival will also include workshops, performances and the rare opportunity for young filmmakers to learn from, and engage with the professionals.

Film Information

The film can be viewed online here:

Read our interview with the filmmakers behind The Old Lie. 

Running time: 4 mins 10 seconds
Music: Hell Broke Luce by Tom Waits
Crew: Bethan Dow, Charlie Houston, Dana Martin, Mari Wall, Taylor Thompson, Eilidh Anderson
Cast: Ryan Aptomos, Charlie Scott, Luc MacDonald, Sean Brown, Calvin Wilson, John Selkirk, Ewan Chanter, Scott Sinclair, Neil Gibson, Zack Pye, Anthony Tetlow, Adam Quinn, Roddy Gilkison and Benjamin Connolly.
Creative Direction: Jen Randall (Lightshed Pictures), Natali McCleary
Choreography: Natali McCleary
Supported by: Rosie Reid, Geraldine Heaney, Claire Grinis, Firefly Arts Ltd, Creative Scotland and Cashback for Creativity.

Notes to Editors

About CashBack for Creativity
CashBack for Creativity is part of the Scottish Government’s CashBack for Communities programme, which reinvests the proceeds of crime back into communities to benefit Scotland’s young people. The programme has been awarded a grant of £3million to deliver activity from 2014-2017. The CashBack for Creativity programme is also linked to the Youth Arts Development Hubs, the National Youth Arts Strategy – Time to Shine, the Youth Music Initiative and the Creative Learning Plan. For further information please visit:

About Creative Scotland
Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here.  We enable people and organisations to work in and experience the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland by helping others to develop great ideas and bring them to life.  We distribute funding provided by the Scottish Government and the National Lottery. For further information about Creative Scotland please visit  Follow us @creativescots and

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